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Least Favorite Job Search Phase
Answering The Dreaded Weakness Question Print
Written by Abby Kohut   

People say that there are no guarantees in life. Maybe so, but I guarantee you that you are  guaranteed to be asked a question in an interview about your weaknesses. Your mission should be to be well prepared to not only answer this question, but to answer it successfully.

Before I tackle the dreaded weaknesses question, let's first agree that no one is perfect – even your interviewer. The question is whether your particular imperfections are going to interfere with the specific job you are applying for.

An interviewer can ask the weakness question in a variety of ways:

  1. Tell me Joe, what are your weaknesses?
  2. Joe, what tasks are you most likely to procrastinate doing?
  3. Joe, what skills do you wish you could take classes on to improve?
  4. Joe, in your last performance review, what came up for you in relation to your challenges?
  5. Joe, if I called your former manager and asked him about your weaknesses, what would she tell me?

I recommend that you start by making a personal list of all of your weaknesses that could affect your job performance. Stick with this until you've come up with five weaknesses. We'll return to this list in a moment.

It might be tempting to answer this question with: "I am a workaholic so my weakness is that I have a hard time saying no" or "I am a manager who has high expectations of my staff so I tend to push them too hard." Unfortunately, these are overused and any savvy interviewer will realize this. If your interviewer doesn't think you are being genuine, he or she may continue to press you until you reveal a weakness that is more believable.

Here is a real world example of a weakness: "I am a perfectionist. While that may not seem like a weakness, it causes me to put off finishing projects. To solve this problem, I typically ask my managers to give me deadlines so that I know when the project must be completed". Or, "I have been told that my presentation skills need some work, so I have asked for more opportunities to speak in front of groups and have recently joined Toastmasters".

So let's have a look now at that list you created. Did you list a weaknesses, that under the right circumstances, can be an asset to a company? If so, offer that as an example. Then explore how you have overcome this weakness and what you are doing to improve it.

The key as usual is to know yourself – know what makes you a superstar and know what areas you need to work on. Celebrating the fact that your interviewer did not uncover your weakness in an interview is dangerous. Wouldn't you rather be hired for who you really are than trying to compensate for your weaknesses during your first few months when all eyes are upon you? I vote yes.

Absolutely Abby’s Advice:
Choosing a career where you can showcase your strengths rather than your weaknesses is the ultimate goal. Being able to convey to an interviewer who you truly are as an employee and what you love to do will put you on the road to success.
  • Tired of all the rejection? If you're interested in learning the Absolute truth about why you're struggling, sign up for a one hour "Capture a Recruiter" phone session today. Reach out to me today with any questions and for an absolutely amazing discount coupon!

Drawn from my 18 years of experience and research in recruiting and Human Resources, my blog posts are intended to provide insight into what corporate recruiters and Human Resource professionals look for when they are evaluating your qualifications. Simply reading these blogs will not guarantee you success. However, consistently applying the strategies mentioned, as well as developing your own personal interview style, will greatly enhance your chances of victory amidst the competition. I wish you the best of luck with your search as you begin to take charge of your career!